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Australian dinghy foiling kit world-wide, Cricket captain goes sailing

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team on 25 Jul 2014
Fun foiling on your Laser with Glide Free Foils Glide Free
In the mid 1990's Australian sailors lifted just a few of their traditional low riding Moth dinghies up on foils and the genie forever escaped the bottle.

Flash-forward just a few short years, and the Moth Worlds were being were contested on foils and we are mid-World's 2014 as you read this, with Australia's Nathan Outteridge now in the lead, and the 34th America’s Cup was won using foils.

The ability to dramatically reduce wet surface area and drag, while spiking boat speed and ratcheting forward apparent wind angles was clearly a hit with performance sailors racing aboard bleeding-edge designs, but what about the countless existing older-generation dinghies that were designed to plane but not to fly on foils?

Australian Ian Ward is credited with being the first designer to attach centreline foils onto a Moth (1998).


In 2009, his mate, Peter Stephinson, challenged Ward to build a foiling prototype for a Laser. They initially used the World Champion, Michael Blackburn’s medal-winning Laser, and the challenge was on to create an aftermarket kit that would allow the venerable Laser to enjoy vastly improved boat speed and way higher performance.

More importantly, the new system could be used to help train-up a new generation of foil-bound sailors who would not otherwise have access to a high-performance foiler…provided that Ward and his team could crack the formula.

Ward, of course, accepted the challenge, and he and Stephinson - with a great deal of testing and retesting - created an easy-to-fit aftermarket kit that not only lifted the Laser out of the drink, but it also allowed the boat to enjoy a 200-percent performance boost in the right conditions.


Their 'test pilots' were flashing around at speeds of 18-23 knots (in good breezes), and it was clear that Stephinson’s challenge had led the team to something really cool. Best yet, however, was the fact that the new design proved forgiving enough that intermediate Laser sailors could enjoy a foil, as the design doesn’t pitch-pole or cartwheel, and its relatively low 'foiling freeboard' helps to provide a sense of extra safety compared to other, higher-riding foilers.

The new product, now known as Glide Free Foils is now commercially available as an aftermarket kit, which contains all the equipment needed to get you up and foiling including all foils, centreboard, rudder, centre case insert, rudder stock, tiller and carry bags.

The very latest development of Glide Free Foils is quite unique, taking a standard Laser dinghy and giving it turbo charged performance on foils, never before thought possible. And the performance is just incredible!

You can read all about this amazing Aussie invention below.


2014 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race - Australian Cricket Captain Michael Clarke will make his ocean racing debut aboard Perpetual Loyal in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised 384 nautical mile Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race which starts this Saturday 26 July at 1pm off Nielsen Park on Sydney Harbour, with line honours contenders aiming at WOXI’s open race record of 22 hours 3 minutes 46 seconds, set in 2012.

Clarkie was aboard Loyal on Sydney Harbour last weekend, with Harbour breezes hitting 37 knots North Sails Michael Coxon (Cocko) felt there was no need to take the 100 footer offshore.


Talking to Cocko today, he said 'it’s a funny thing, we just feel we are doing normal stuff, week in week out but when we take top echelon sportsman like Michael Clarke on board, they all seem to think we’re 'out there' and we see eyes as big as saucers. Mind you, I think facing the world's top fast bowlers is pretty 'out there' too.


Up north Airlie Beach Race Week is tracking towards a record fleet and so is SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week. Today I talked to Sealink Queensland CEO Paul Victory who told us that over half the 2014 Magnetic Island fleet have not raced on in the most northerly of the Queensland regattas before.


Now we hear that Kite Townsville’s international Kiteboarding Championship will provide a dramatic back-drop to the annual Race Week with both events being held from 28th August to 2nd September 2014.







Again lots more news from Australia and the world scene today.

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